Largest retrospective of David Hockney prints opening in Honolulu

The Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA) will debut the largest-ever retrospective of David Hockney’s groundbreaking prints this fall in “David Hockney: Perspective Should Be Reversed, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.” The exhibition, on view November 17, 2023 through March 10, 2024, will feature more than 140 works that span six decades of the artist’s career.

The iconic British artist’s hyper-vibrant portrayals—prints, collages and photographic and iPad drawings—have made him one of the foremost avant-garde realists of his time. The exhibition documents his range of production methods, from his earliest etchings in the mid-1950s and ‘60s to his recent experiments with iPad and photographic drawings.

“Seeing how one of the most influential artists of our time developed his technique over the span of 60 years is one of the incredible rewards of this exhibition,” Halona Norton-Westbrook, HoMA’s director and CEO, said. “The works on display will show us how Hockney’s visual world has progressed over time. It’s a real privilege to have this opportunity to showcase the creative life and mind of one of the world’s great artists.”

Hockney’s playful world, with unfettered use of color and whimsical portrayals of landscapes, interiors and people, is so vast due in part to his productivity. He is as innovative at 86-years-old as he was when he was a student at Bradford College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London in his teens and 20s. Hockney is known for vivid scenes, which HoMA presents in thematic sections throughout “Perspective Should Be Reversed.”

The exhibition explores the artist’s experimentation with technique as well as his love of the stage and opera, architectural spaces and nature, still lifes and portraits.

Hockney’s portraits of himself, family and friends are among his most arresting pieces. In “Henry with Tulips”(1976), the artist captures a portrait and self-portrait in one work. Hockney’s close friend and curator, Henry Geldzahler, sits on a chair flanked by a vase of tulips on the left and the artist’s mirrored reflection on the right. The lithograph is a probable and light-hearted reference to Hockney’s artistic predecessors such as 17th-century Spanish artist Diego Velázquez. Artists of that time often found clever ways to insert themselves into their own paintings.

“Audiences will see the artist’s most iconic subjects and series—California swimming pools, Yosemite National Park and British landscapes in full bloom as well as intimate portrayals of friends, family and queer desire—in a stunning variety of dimensions and media that underscore Hockney’s innovative experiments as a printmaker,” Catherine Whitney, HoMA’s director of curatorial affairs and co-curator of the exhibition, said. “It’s an honor to present this in partnership with Jordan Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, which holds an extraordinary, career-spanning body of Hockney’s defining work.”

Hockney’s recent series of still lifes will be among the stunning works on view. Beginning in 2008, the artist got hold of an iPhone and quickly became consumed with the device’s drawing applications. Early subjects included domestic settings, like the sunrise from his bedroom window or the floral arrangements decorating his home.

“I draw flowers every day on my iPhone and send them to my friends, so they get fresh flowers every morning,” he has said. “And my flowers last.”

What began as impromptu sketches shared with friends and family soon became a vital means for Hockney to study and capture the world around him. By transitioning to an iPad in 2010, the artist could employ a larger screen and use his fingers and a stylus to make images. The artist layered stroke upon stroke of color to convey the texture, light and presence of his chosen subjects, which range from a glass ashtray and a pair of bathroom robes to playful self-portraits of varying expressions. Hockney recognized these images’ potential beyond the screen and transformed the iPhone and iPad drawings into stunningly colorful and large prints.

Interpretive stations in HoMA’s exhibition offer an interactive experience with Hockney’s works. Visitors can use digital drawing tools to create their own digital paintings and connect to Hockney’s printmaking process. Hockney’s animations will loop on two large monitors, allowing visitors to explore the artist’s way of thinking about art and observe his use of digital technology. A gallery hunt invites viewers to identify key visual elements in works throughout the exhibition.

“There is a sense of exuberance, of openness, to Hockney’s technique,” Whitney said. “His work is truly a delight to experience and puts everyday objects and faces into a fresh, new perspective. His ability to take the ordinary and invite us to look at it with new eyes is one of the key elements of this exhibition.”

“David Hockney: Perspective Should Be Reversed, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation” is organized by the Honolulu Museum of Art in conjunction with the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation. The exhibition is curated by Catherine Whitney, director of curatorial affairs, and Katherine Love, assistant curator of contemporary art, Honolulu Museum of Art.

David Hockney, "Montcalm Interior," 2010. iPad drawing printed on paper. Edition of 25. 37 x 28"
David Hockney, “Montcalm Interior,” 2010. iPad drawing printed on paper. Edition of 25. 37 x 28″ © David Hockney

Related programs

Jordan Schnitzer and Special Friends of the Artist: Reflections on David Hockney

Friday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m., Doris Duke Theatre

Marking the opening day of “David Hockney: Perspective Should Be Reversed, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation,” Jordan Schnitzer; Kimberly Davis from L.A. Louver Gallery; and Doug Roberts, one of Hockney’s longtime friends will discuss their relationships with the artist and strategies for collecting art.  

Reserve tickets starting Oct. 5 at honolulumuseum.org.

In-Gallery Tour and Talk
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, 4-5:30 p.m.
University of Hawai‘i printmaking professors Charlie Cohan and Scott Groeniger will lead a tour of “David Hockney: Perspective Should Be Reversed, Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation” and give a talk on Hockney’s techniques.

iPad Painting Workshop

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, 5-8 p.m., HoMA Art School

University of Hawai‘i printmaking professor Scott Groeniger will lead a workshop on how to create digital images by merging photography, drawing, painting and printmaking through a digital platform.

About Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

At age 14, Jordan D. Schnitzer bought his first work of art from his mother’s Portland, Oregon, contemporary art gallery, beginning a lifelong avocation as a collector. He began collecting contemporary prints and multiples in earnest in 1988.

Today, the collection exceeds 20,000 works and includes many of today’s most important contemporary artists. It has grown to be the country’s largest private print collection. He and his Family Foundation generously lend work from the collections to qualified institutions and have organized more than 160 exhibitions at over 120 museums across the country.

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